Many people consider mission statements to be superfluous – conjured up by HR departments when they don’t have enough other work to be getting on with! However, this is far from the truth. Your mission statement is like the DNA for your company; everything else is developed around it so it’s significant.
Here are some powerful mission statements:
- Google: To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful
- eBay: Provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything
- Amazon: to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online
- Adobe: To move the web forward and give web designers and developers the best tools and services in the world
- Kickstarter: To help bring creative projects to life
Here are some of the reasons why a carefully constructed, inspiring mission statement is so important:
1. It guides the kind of people you hire
Probably the most significant area of your business that will be affected after you’ve constructed a mission statement is your hiring policy and who is attracted to your organisation. Determining the kind of company you want to be will help you specify the kind of people who will work there. For those just entering the job market, they often feel as if their qualifications and education should be enough for them to secure jobs, but this is not always the case. For example, some companies may prefer highly extroverted candidates who are passionate about the company and asks plenty of questions to someone who is more reserved but superior in terms of academic credentials. This is because for a company who has a clear mission, they need to hire the right personnel, people who will bring the mission to life through innovation, creativity and dedication to customer satisfaction.
2. It dictates your values and workplace culture
Your mission statement and values go hand in hand – the result of this combination is the workplace culture. The values must be credible and be adhered to by staff across the organisation otherwise they are meaningless and will lead the company in the wrong direction. A company that prioritises profits above everything else is going to have very different values to one that sets an intention of making the world a better place. The latter company is likely to value teamwork, open communications, customer satisfaction and adaptability. In a company where profits are the only concern, these values may not be central to its culture.
3. It influences your vision statement
Although vision and mission are thought to be the same thing – they’re quite different. Your mission statement is focused on the present and influences the ways in which the company conducts itself from day-to-day. Your vision statement describes (hopefully in inspirational language) the long-term goals of the company – how the company and the world around it will look once the big objectives are complete. A mission and vision statement work together to give the board and employees stakeholders logical information and emotional motivation to help you succeed! It also tells external stakeholders what the organisation is aiming to achieve in the long and short-term.
4. It influences your strategy
Superstar marketer and entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, often discusses religion (the higher goals of the company) and tactics (the individual methods used to achieve those goals). He states:
“When you are able to understand what you want the outcome to be, you can then figure out who you need to be speaking to. Only then can you reverse engineer what you need to produce in order for them to get excited. Once you do that, you have the audacity to question what tactics you need to get there.”
In other words, a good mission statement allows companies to be pragmatic in achieving their goals. If you have a clear mission, the tactics can be built to facilitate the long-term goals. With a clear mission, this also improves the evaluation of the strategy – every metric can be weighed up and everything that does not actually improve the company’s success (as defined by the mission statement) can be discarded.
Ultimately, your mission statement gives your company a sense of integrity and direction. This is something every CEO or investor should want. If you’re looking to create a mission statement and are struggling, check out this excellent article containing 50 mission statements from top nonprofits!
Clear, memorable and concise mission statements are always the most effective. Best of luck!